Who's helping and who's hurting our natural world
NUVO has always believed the environment is a social justice issue: Clean air, water and soil is the right of all inhabitants of our planet. We try to be as green as possible, using 100 percent recycled content for our newspaper and operating our own building with as much energy efficiency as possible. The Hoosier Environmental Council recognized us in 2005 with a Green Business Award.
The environment is news. Whether the subject is climate change, urban sprawl, E. coli, traumatized elephants or combined sewer overflows, the community is more attuned to issues regarding our natural world — and the human impact upon it. We cover such issues on a regular basis, such as our ongoing examination of the Veolia corporation and the quality of the water we drink, or our investigations into coal mining. We consider the community’s compassion toward animals — domestic and wild — to be an environmental issue as well.
Creating an annual survey identifying environmental warriors and exploiters made sense. We received input from various environmentally-minded people, from HEC to the state government, and then an editorial board comprised of Publisher/Editor Kevin McKinney, Managing Editor Jim Poyser, News Editor Laura McPhee and NUVO environment writers Katie Engle and Anne Laker went through the recommendations and voted.
Next year, we’ll do the same. Your input will be welcome. Let’s celebrate the heroes — and encourage the zeros to do better.
Most of us know that our computer equipment and other technological appliances contain large quantities of lead, mercury and cadmium. If we don’t recycle this equipment, it leaches toxic metals into the Earth, fouling soil, groundwater, wells and streams.
The Goldsmith Group has been recycling e-scrap in Indianapolis for almost 40 years. Monitors, PCs, notebooks, printers, cell phones, audio and security equipment, medical equipment and more are taken in to be sold as used technology or stripped for materials.
“When an item is deemed scrap, we can tear it down for precious metal recovery and send those materials to companies who process it for precious metals,” says Eric Goldsmith, vice president of Goldsmith Group. “Some of these materials GGI pays to properly dispose of, due to its low recovery value and high amounts of toxins like lead, mercury or other hazardous materials; so, GGI charges for some of these items. Since monitors have 6 to 10 pounds of lead in them, they are a good example, if they are older than 2002 or aren’t working. We take them for free if they work and are newer than 2002. Whole PCs, PIII or better we buy on a per item basis.”
The Goldsmith Group is, fortunately, not alone in this endeavor; future NUVO environmental heroes in this particular e-recycling category include Indiana Recycling Coalition (www.indianarecycling.org), The Virtual Scavenger Project (917-9111 or
e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org), Indianapolis Department of Public Works (www.indygov.org/eGov/City/DPW) and the just-introduced drive-through escrap recycling program (www.computerexpertsindy.com): See Dispatch, pg. 11.
Hoosier Environmental Council Foundation
As a mother and a registered nurse, Lori Olivier has dedicated her personal and professional life to nurturing others. But her compassion and commitment to others extends to a type of community activism that transcends these two full-time jobs and those directly in her care to bring an improved quality of life to every Hoosier.
Olivier has been involved at every level of community activism in Indianapolis for many years. She has worked with the Marion County Alliance of Neighborhood Associations, successfully bringing environmental issues such as tree preservation to the forefront of city and county agendas when few others saw natural resources as part of community activism. As co-founder of Riverview, a grass-roots organization dedicated to protecting the White River and the greater environment through arts awareness, Olivier brought together some of the city’s most environmentally-conscious artists and helped raise both awareness and much needed funds to clean up the river we all know has far too often been a receptacle for every type of corporate pollution the city, county and state has too offer.
But it is her role as the chairperson of the Hoosier Environmental Council Foundation that has been of greatest benefit to Indiana’s environment. While she describes herself as “just a fund-raiser,” her peers know just how important the ability to fund environmental causes and counter corporate bankrolls is to their success. Lori Olivier understands that it takes a lot of money to fund the effort to make our laws and governmental policies environmentally sound and to educate policy-makers, consumers, companies, educators and all Hoosiers about issues that affect our health and our prosperity. The Hoosier Environmental Council Foundation exists to assist HEC and its members and friends in maximizing the effectiveness of the dollars contributed to this mission. And Olivier has been instrumental in securing those dollars for HEC and the environmental well-being of us all.
Its purpose is to increase awareness about residential environmental issues and offer solutions. Its method is to do so one building at a time.
Ecology House of Indianapolis is a firm dedicated to green design and building principles. Green design is a method that takes the concept of sustainability and applies it to all aspects of a building’s structure — for the present and future. This process includes materials that are environmentally friendly, energy efficient and regenerative — not just sustainable, safe and good for the community.
Though Ecology House was founded in 1993, its mission was not clear until 2000. Architect Sam Miller provided inspiration to build or renovate homes in Indianapolis using green design techniques. By doing so, Ecology House is able to educate the community. It teaches by example. Ecology House has taken part in various projects, including the recent Fab for Less in Fountain Square. The goal is to obtain as much attention as possible in order to spread the word about green design. All homes are then sold in the housing market and Ecology House begins its next project.
When designing or renovating a home, Ecology House considers various aspects of the structure. Each project utilizes recycled materials that are attractive and relatively inexpensive. Designers use sustainable products such as bamboo flooring and non-toxic substances such as VOC paint in order to minimize the footprint left on the environment. Ecology House designs buildings to be energy efficient so that heating and air conditioning won’t leak outside. It also uses energy efficient appliances to decrease utility bills.
Ecology House is a not-for-profit organization aimed at bringing awareness to the community on regenerative design and sustainability.
P.O. Box 80091; 46280-0091
Have you traveled the Monon Trail lately, enjoyed the trailside murals? Jogged the Central Canal towpath? Biked the Pleasant Run Trail? Delighted in the White River? Chances are you’ve enjoyed the fruits of this organization’s efforts to create green space corridors. The scope of this organization’s reach is so broad, it finds common ground — literally — for skateboarders, birdwatchers, bicyclists and powerwalkers. It’s good for the environment, good for the city and state and its economy and good for you, too — and that’s why they received the top number of votes from NUVO’s team.
Greenways Foundation is a charitable trust working to promote the growth, enhancement and use of Central Indiana greenways. According to Greenways Foundation Board of Directors President Matt Klein, the “organization … supports government organizations that want to build trails.”
One such government organization supported by Greenways Foundation is Indy Parks Greenways, whose staff includes Peggy Boehm, Indy Greenways administrator; Jonathan Gick, manager of Town Run Trail Park; Terri Van Zant, project manager; and Annie Brown, project manager. We would be remiss if we didn’t acknowledge the extraordinary vision of Ray Irvin, former Indy Greenways administrator and currently working for INDOT to develop a statewide trail initiative.
Klein continues, “Greenways is committed to staying here and finishing the job” of connecting a vast, interconnected web of trail space throughout the metropolitan area.
Transcending politics, Greenways Foundation organizes opportunities for all Indy citizens to participate in improving their environment; for example, on Nov. 11 a White River Cleanup session will be held (see their Web site and next week’s NUVO for details).
Greenways Foundation Board of Directors is comprised of Matthew T. Klein, Esq., president; William Watts, Ph.D., vice president; Bernie O. Paul, secretary; David Hatchett, Esq.; Susan R. Moriarty, M.D.; Brian Payne; Bryan Poynter, CCIM; Chad G. Frahm, Esq.; Mitch Barloga; Valla Ann Bolovschak. Greg Silver is chairman of the Indianapolis Greenways Development Committee.
Since its objective is to give a voice to the voiceless, NUVO wants to raise its voice to congratulate IndyFeral for its contribution to the cat community.
IndyFeral is a not-for-profit organization whose goal is to minimize the number of stray cats in Central Indiana. Since 2002, it has managed to Trap-Neuter-Return over 8,000 stray and feral cats in Indiana. The goal of TNR is to reach a day when there are no more homeless pets. By sterilizing the animals, feline overpopulation has been reduced significantly.
While IndyFeral believes TNR is an acceptable answer to a serious problem, its goal is to place cats and kittens in loving homes whenever possible.
IndyFeral also believes that every life has meaning regardless of the animals’ habitat. Most feral (wild) cats are considered to be nuisances. IndyFeral strives to improve their lives and raise awareness to create more humane communities for feral cats. To do this, it has established feral colonies to provide long-term care for the animals. The cats receive health attention, food, water and shelter under the supervision of IndyFeral volunteers.
IndyFeral also works with Indianapolis Animal Care and Control to promote uniform standards for the care of free-roaming cat colonies while working to reduce cat nuisance complaints.
IndyFeral received a $20,000 grant in the spring of 2006 to complete over 800 spay and neuter surgeries on free-roaming cats.
Mitch Daniels was hired by the majority of Hoosiers in the 2004 election to bring economic recovery to our state — something few would argue we needed. It’s a safe bet, however, that few of the voters who chose Daniels for governor realized at the time that his plan for economic success was contingent upon the exploitation, if not devastation, of our natural resources in many ways.
The appointment of Kyle Hupfer to head the Department of Natural Resources (see David Hoppe’s column this week), a man whose credentials for the job include corporate lawyer, Daniels’ campaign worker and occasional fisherman, justifiably alarmed many environmentalists. But it was Hupfer’s decision, as one of his first acts on the job, to more than double the number of trees harvested for timber from state forests each year, increasing the harvest from less than 4 million board-feet of wood annually to between 10 and 15 million, that began the environmental backlash against the Daniels Administration in earnest.
Indiana is the sixth largest emitter of carbon dioxide in the United States due to steel and coal production. And this past summer, when the EPA found 17 counties in violation of air quality standards and demanded the state form a cleanup plan for its coal production and consumption, Daniels wrote a letter opposing the violations and penalties, saying the EPA should do a better job of balancing economic growth and development with environmental safety. A few weeks later, Daniels allowed one of his biggest campaign contributors — Black Beauty Coal and its parent company Peabody Energy — to resume strip mining coal that is so dirty the state has refused to burn it for decades.
Even when Daniels claims to be a champion for the environment, Hoosiers should be suspicious. Take for example his mandate for the state’s fleet of vehicles to be “flex-fuel.” While these new vehicles could run on ethanol, it turns out that the governor doesn’t require ethanol usage. In a recent audit of fuel consumption, more than 90 percent of these ethanol capable vehicles are still running on old-fashioned gasoline.
300 N. Meridian St., Suite 1500
Indianapolis, IN 46204-1763
You would think that a company that makes dangerous chemicals would take the greatest care to handle them carefully, with public health in mind. Not Reilly Industries. As the world’s leading producer of pyridine (a coal-derived solvent used to make medicines, vitamins and insecticides), as well as DEET, the active ingredient in insect repellent products, Reilly has been polluting since 1955, when residents near its chemical plant on the Southwestside first smelled something toxic in the air.
Over the years, Reilly has been cited for numerous violations of the Clean Air Act by the Indiana Department of Environmental Management and the EPA. In 1987, 60,000 gallons of waste fuel were spilled, contaminating groundwater. Just this year, the EPA fined Reilly $88,468 for failing to alert government officials of a planned release of two hazardous chemicals, hydrogen cyanide and anhydrous ammonia. Yet this company’s Web site claims that it is “a voluntary participant in a chemical industry initiative to improve environmental, health and s"